Thursday, 13 January 2011

Lazy beef stirfry with a Thai-ish twist

There are many things I love about stirfry. But chief among them are:
  • They're very quick and easy (if you cheat)
  • They make a small amount of meat go a long way (a single steak can feed the whole family)
  • They taste great!
There isn't really a 'recipe' this time. Just a few guidelines.

Oh, and you don't have to have a wok. A frying pan works, too. The only wok I've ever owned gave everything a revolting metallic taste, so I went back to using my very large, bog standard non-stick frying pan.

Meat - you can use just about any meat at all in a stifry - just slice is up finely
Vegetables - you can also use a wide range of vegetables. To be honest, I tend to be lazy. My local supermarket sells pre-juliened packs of ready-mixed stirfry vegetables. But, if I'm doing it properly, my vegetables might include:
mushrooms - thinly sliced
onions - finely sliced (red ones add great colour)
carrots - cut into matchsticks (thank goodness for slicing gadgets!)
cabbage (or pak choi or bok choi if you're feeling posh) - thinly sliced
bell peppers - thinly sliced
whole bean sprouts
bamboo shoots - straight out the can
water chestnuts - also from a can, but thinly sliced
you could also add pineapple - finely chopped (but I have a son who loathes the stuff)
mange tout - whole
baby corn cobs - whole or broken up into pieces

I start by frying the meat over a medium high heat in a tiny bit of oil until it is browned. I might liberally sprinkle it with 'Thai seven spice' which I have seen at most major supermarkets in the UK. I then add the vegetables all willy-nilly-ish, and keep stirring and turning them over until they soften up a bit. It is important not to overdo the veg, and there should be a slight crunch left in them.

This is when I add the final touch, which makes all the difference. The 'sauce'. I mix together a generous teaspoon of chopped ginger, lemongrass, sweet chilli sauce, the juice of half a lime, a dash of soy sauce, the grated zest of the lime, and a little water, and stir this into the meat and veg for a minute or two, until it has been even spread through the whole thing. Because I do this often, I have taken to buying the bottles of 'very lazy' ginger and lemongrass. As a final flourish, I chop up fresh coriander leaves and sprinkle them over the top.

Serve with noodles.

Start to finish with all the lazy shortcuts, it takes about 10 minutes. No kidding.


  1. Thanks! I'll try this with the 'doing it properly' vegetables. I wonder if I'll find water chestnuts in Finland. Probably will... The selection at supermarkets is expanding and what's a nice phenomenon is that there are more and more small spacial shops selling all kinds of ingredients for oriental cooking.

  2. @Irmeli I do sometimes do it 'properly', too, but even then, I use canned water chestnuts.